The rise of software distribution over the Internet and content streaming services have greatly reduced the value of optical disc drives for the average consumer. At the same time, the trend towards thinner laptops persuaded PC makers to remove ODDs from notebooks. As a result, it is now rather uncommon to find a new mobile PC with a BD or DVD drive, a pity for those with large collections of discs. But optical drives aren't entirely dead quite yet, and to address the market for customers who still need a drive, ASUS Japan this week introduced its X545FA laptop, an Intel Comet Lake-based machine that includes a DVD drive.

The ASUS X545FA notebook is equipped with a 15.6-inch Full-HD display and comes in a "Slate Gray" or "Transparent Silver" body that is 23 mm thick. In line with other machines in this class, the laptop weighs 1.9 kilograms. At the heart of the mobile PC are Intel's 10th gen quad-core Core i3-10110U and Core i7-10510U processors with built-in Intel UHD graphics, accompanied by up to 8 GB of DDR4 SDRAM, and a 512 GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x2 SSD.

The system comes with a Super Multi DVD drive that can read and burn various types of CD and DVD media. Meanwhile, DVD playback software is not included. Yes, you read that right, it's just a DVD drive in 2020, lacking support for more modern Blu-ray discs. We're not too sure what ASUS' rationale here is - it's possible DVDs are still very popular in Japan?

On the connectivity side of matters, the X545FA notebook supports Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth, GbE, USB, HDMI, microSD, and an audio jack. As for multimedia, the laptop features a webcam, stereo speakers, and a microphone array. In addition, the machine has a fingerprint reader.

ASUS says that its X545FA notebook can work for 6.7 ~ 6.8 hours on one charge. This is below what you expect from a modern 15.6-inch class machine, but which may indicate that the manufacturer largely positions the notebook as a cheap desktop replacement machine rather than a PC for work on the go.

Depending on exact SKU, the ASUS X545FA costs from ¥77,556 to ¥99,818 ($705 – $908) without tax.

The ASUS X545FA Notebooks
Display 15.6-inch 1920×1080
CPU Intel Core i3-10110U
Intel Core i7-10510U
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics
SSD 512 GB PCIe 3.0 x2 SSD
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
USB 1 × USB 2.0 Type-A
2 × USB 3.0 Type-A
Card Reader microSD
Other I/O HDMI, microphone, stereo speakers, audio jack
Battery 6.7 ~ 6.8 hours
Dimensions Width: 360.2 mm
Depth: 234.8 mm
Thickness: 23 mm
Weight 1.9 kilograms
Additional Information Slate Gray or Transparent Silver body
Price Fom ¥77,556 to ¥99,818 without tax
From $705 to $908 without tax

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Source: ASUS (via PC Watch)

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  • kallinteris - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    is the optical drive supposed to be a feature if so are there still industries where people need it for their laptop
    or is it a consumer focused feature
  • Valantar - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    I don't know if DVDs are still popular in Japan, but the music industry over there is at least still almost 100% based on CDs. Streaming music isn't really a thing in Japan, I believe due to very conservative rightsholders. It's probably the same for other media too.
  • tipoo - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Even so, I'd just use an external drive so the entire laptop isn't compromised the 99% of time you're not ripping or burning an optical disk.
  • eek2121 - Sunday, February 9, 2020 - link

    Not to mention the fact that it is a DVD drive. A Blu-ray burner would make more sense.
  • rocky12345 - Monday, February 10, 2020 - link

    Compromised probably not add some weight yes for sure even though it is very little. I stopped using optical drives a long time ago and favor USB sticks these days. I sell computers as part of my daily routine and you would be surprised just how many people still ask for one in a new system.

    My thoughts are just because I do not use a optical drive any more does not mean others don't. I guess the drive in this laptop would make a nice chip bag holder for people like us that do not have any other use for them or a coffee cup holder I guess but mobile drives are so flimsy that it would have to be a very small cup of coffee.
  • mobutu - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    rarely need a cd/dvd on the go so an external drive would be 100x better.
  • Samus - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    I’m with everyone else...I thought cheap external drives that remove the bulk from the laptop and put that almost identically sized bulk into a slim little square pretty much killed the desire to have an internal drive.
  • konbala - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    They love DJs
  • sheh - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    I'm for optical drives in laptops. If nothing else, it's an available expansion bay for an extra HDD or SSD.

    Sad to see Asus using a keyboard with poor layout, unlike their usual one.
  • eek2121 - Sunday, February 9, 2020 - link

    If the laptop is designed right, you don't need an expansion drive.

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